Friday, December 19, 2008

Ask, And Ye Shall Receive

The other day I sounded a bit like a petulant child who, on the eve of Christmas, complains that she never gets what she wants. I haven't ever grown up, not really. I'm still the spoiled, whiney little girl I was.
However, as a grown up, I can appreciate the irony when the very next day I open my presents and find that very thing I was most hoping for. Umm ... thanks? And ... I'm sorry for being so whiney? I'm not sure that's enough to make up for it.

Because imagine my surprise when after begging the universe for the "Marie Antoinette" award, Stephanie over at Write Bravely (I've always loved her blog title - isn't it the best?) passed it on to me. I really appreciate this award, especially coming from Stephanie. She was one of the first writer friends I made in blog world and she's always been so kind to me. I look up to her and am touched that she would think of me for this award. Thank you Stephanie!

I do try to keep it real here. You might not appreciate the whiney nature sometimes, or the endless narratives of things that might not matter to you, or ... whatever ... but it's me. I am me, nothing more, nothing less. 

This is my journal, and it's pretty much stream-of-consciousness kind of journalling, but it is REAL, whatever else it is not. However, a few of you seem to not mind too much my mindless drivel, and I thank you. I do appreciate you, all of you, who take the time to stop by, to read, and sometimes to comment. It always helps, whatever my topic of the day, to know I'm not alone in this big ol' world, but that sometimes what I say strikes a chord with someone else and for a moment we connect. I live for that connection and think it's the most amazing thing the Internet has to offer. So thank you, all of you, for being here, for stayin' real right along with me.

I would like to pass this award along to Danyelle at Queen of the Clan. Danyelle has a smile that lights up a room, but even if you hadn't ever met her in person you could tell she smiles like that just from the way she writes. She has a beauty that shines through every post and I find very word to be true to who she is and what is in her heart. Danyelle's blog is a happy place to be. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Blog Award

I admit it, there's a blog award that I really, really want. And I was super disappointed when I didn't get it. Pretty sad, eh? I just thought ... well, the award is for people who are 'keepin' it real' on their blogs and I thought I did that pretty well. Shoot. Darn. Errr

Not that I'm sorry the worthy people who got it, well, got it. 'Cause they're totally real. And I love their blogs. And it's all cool. It's just that, dang, I want that award!

But, I did have a moment of shame when I realized that I hadn't, in fact, been entirely honest.

I started up that new blog Food Fights and Binges Bite, and I told you not to come. I hid my identity on that other blog because I was ashamed of what I was saying about myself. I didn't want to be REAL. 

So, I'm comin' clean. I am who I am. I created that other blog because I didn't want to keep dragging you guys on my weight loss/weight gain roller coaster, and because there were darker feelings lurking there that are pretty heavy for the average reader. When I write that stuff, my deepest feelings, fears and stuff, there should be a "Read at your own risk" warning. 

You can go there, you can read about my food fights and my binges, but I wanted to spare you the really ugly bits. 

There, I came clean. I'm keepin' it REAL. Maybe now I'll get that darn award. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gaming With Your Kids

A while back I read an enlightening article about gaming with your kids in, I believe, Canadian Living Magazine. Wish I could remember the author of the article so I could give him proper credit. Anyway, the author told of an experiment he tried, where instead of cursing the presence of video games in his kids' lives, he would embrace them, he would join them. 

At first he thought he was only checking out the games his kids wanted to play, but soon he found they could be fun. When his children discovered he was playing some of the games they were interested in, they were so excited. He began spending time with his boys playing video games, and the fun they shared became an addiction they could all get behind. 

I talked with David about this and whether he would consider playing games with the boys. My guys like medieval-style games best of all, and I wanted to find that type of game that was online, allowing multiple players to play together.

We have finally found a great, fun, safe game that we can all play, called Wizard 101

The boys had been playing it for about a week before David and I decided to join them. It was at the end of a school day, when I asked the boys for help in setting up my character. They flew out of their seats and ran to look over my shoulder at the computer. They helped pick my wizards' face, her clothes, her name. they were so excited, it blew my mind.

They couldn't wait to get on their own computers and start playing with me. The fellow who wrote the article mentioned how it was interesting to take the parent-turned-student role with your kids, and boy was it ever! They felt so proud to show my how to do things in this new world ... and were proud of me when I accomplished my first tasks. 

Now David is out of town and last night he texted me and asked if we wanted to play with him. We all got on Wizard 101 and played a few games together. What a wonderful feeling it was, to have Dad on the other side of the country, but yet we felt like we were together.  

I highly recommend that you put aside your video-game phobias and consider jumping into this wild, colorful world with your kids. Let them show you around, show you what they love, what they think is don't' like, and what they can do in their virtual world. 

It will give you amazing perspective into the world your children live in, and into their very hearts and minds. You might also discover, as we did, that it provides a vehicle to bring your family closer together, despite the miles, and even the years, that may separate you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Is There To Talk About?

You would think after not writing a proper post in four weeks that I'd be brimming with things to tell you. But now that I'm here, seeing somewhat well enough to actually write ... I, well ... I can't think of anything to say.


I could tell you that I'm still in my p.j.'s and it's almost 1:00 in the afternoon. And I don't even have school to blame ~ we've only managed to get about three lessons done and there's been much wailing and gnashing of teeth to even get that much done.

But that would make me look bad and I want you to be glad that I'm back, so I'm not going to tell you that.

I could tell you that my house is a mess and I've been binging a lot lately instead of cleaning it.

But again, that paints me in poor light and I want you to like me, not be disgusted with me.

I could tell you how I have all my Christmas shopping done, my home is decorated to perfection and my boys have been happily baking Christmas cookies with me to give to our neighbors, but that simply would not be the truth.

The truth is, I've been going through the motions every day, hanging in there, some days climbingin onto one of the branches of life, only to fall off the next day where I hang, swinging in the breeze for days.

At least I'm still ON the tree, right?

But seriously, things are going okay. I'm glad that my eyesight is returning. It has been unbelievably hard not to be able to read or write for four weeks. I most miss reading my scriptures. My husband was out of town last week and it drove me crazy that I could dig my teeth into a juicy novel and read, read, read while he was away. 

And I was really bummed to miss Jen's Self-Esteem Carnival because I wanted to have a chance to win the book she was giving away. Now I'm gonna have to go buy it.

I've started a new blog, that I'm not sure I want to invite you to, so I'll only post it here this once and that way it'll be obscure enough to miss the attention of most people. It's a blog about my food issues and weight loss efforts. It's called Food Fights and Binges Bite. Don't go there. It's just a big ol' pitty party. At least I won't party here. No more of that. Innocents such as you do not deserve to be subjected to my insanity.

Well, some versions of my insanity, but certainly not all.

Homeschool is going well (except for today.) 

All is well.

Tomorrow I will challenge myself to write something a bit more interesting. Maybe I'll go surfing and hijack someone else's good idea. *U*

Friday, December 05, 2008

I've Been Rated

I'm beginning to read a bit - hurray! I get tired awfully quick and then the vision is super blurry again, but at least I can read little. So Elana had this on her blog today and I thought at least it would give me something to post without having to read too much.

blog readability test

I'm not too embarassed to say I only rank as a Junior High blog. Heck, I've never aspired to much fanciness here on this blog. Junior High was actually a good time for me, so ... maybe it stuck with me, grammar and all.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Where In The World Has Ali Been?

Thing is, I can't see at all. Where have I been? Here. Just bored out of my mind because I can't read or write.

Can't really write here, either (can't see what I'm writing, argh.) But I thought ya'll ought to know I hadn't abandoned you.

I had PRK vision correction on November 11th and while everything seems to have gone really well, I still can't read. I hope I'll be back to my old readin' and writin' self real soon!

Stay tuned! And, thanks for your patience!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Eight Things About Me

Hurray! Tristi tagged me for this little game and I'm wasting no time in getting in my answers! So here we go!

Eight Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  1. My PRK tomorrow! I can't wait to be able to see without my glasses. I'm legally blind now, so I think it will be life changing to be able to see without glasses or contacts! Not looking forward to the painful recovery, but hey ... I think it'll be worth it!
  2. The Primary Program on Sunday. My boys have bigger parts than they've had in the past and they are both feeling really confident and happy to participate. Can't wait to watch them!
  3. My bathroom remodel to be complete. It should be done any day now, really. And it wasn't a big fancy remodel, but we'll have a new paint job, new floor, a new toilet and new light fixtures, so it'll feel updated. Going without a toilet on our main floor stinks!
  4. Christmas! I love Christmas and everything about it. 
  5. Our Anniversary (17 years) on December 27th. 
  6. A little vacation we're taking with the boys to Yellowstone the first week of January. We're going to rent snowmobiles and zoom through the park. Cozy up to roasted marshmallows by the fire at night and play lots of board games. Sounds fun! Can't wait!
  7. My book The Devil's Daughter getting published one day.
  8. Losing Forty Pounds. I've been waiting for that for a long time and I get that's it not really something to wait for, but rather something that you go out and DO for yourself. *sigh* Guess that's why I've still not lost it!
Eight Things on My Wish List:
  1. Umm, to lose weight? Oh yeah, I said that one already!
  2. To be healthier. 
  3. Sewing lessons.
  4. To really get the hang of this homeschooling thang.
  5. A new iPod with some music (Pink, Natasha Bedingfield, Nellie Furtado)
  6. A new camera, because both of mine have fallen victim to various acts of sabotage during the past few months.
  7. To grow closer to Heavenly Father. I'm trying, but sometimes I get in my way.
  8. To have see my sister again. I miss her so much!
Eight TV Shows I Like to Watch:
  1. Smallville
  2. Pushing Daisies
  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (on DVD)
  4. Angel (again, on DVD)
  5. My Name is Earl
  6. Chuck
  7. Stargate Atlantis
  8. Heroes
Eight Things that Happened Yesterday:
  1. I sang in Church with three other women. It was awesome. I got to sing the descant part in the Children's Songbook version of Beautiful Savior, so for once I got to sing high and out, which I really like to do but rarely can (because I'll overpower the other singers - but not this time!)
  2. I had several brain farts trying to put together a baby quilt for Chenny's baby. Finally after like two hours of trying, I managed to get it assembled. Oy! I was spatially challenged yesterday.
  3. I took a nap.
  4. I gave the FHE lesson. (On seeing a child of God when you look at yourself in the mirror. I needed it!)
  5. I baked a cake. Yumm!
  6. I read a couple chapters in the Book of Mormon. I've been on a reading kick lately and am so enjoying it.
  7. I worked on Stacy's book for a while. 
  8. I got caught up on my email.
Eight People I am Tagging: 
I am going to be naughty and not check out who has already been tagged and who has not. Sorry!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

An Awesome Way to Organize Your Blogging Time

I have a ton of blogs I like to read, plus places to visit online. For a long time I was totally overwhelmed by the blog-load and either would end up reading the same blogs all the time (at the top of my list) or not reading any at all, because how do I read one without reading them all? I'm an equal-opportunity reader, after all. Heaven forbid I should hurt someone's feelings by not stopping by their blog when I had to time read so-and-so's blog. I'm sure ya'll know what I mean.

Google Reader didn't work for me. Blog rolls didn't work for me. RSS feeds didn't work for me. 

But RapSheet DOES work for me. It's still not perfect, still has stuff that needs to be fixed, still doesn't have stuff I wish it did, but for me it's awesome.

So here's what I did to organize my online reading time: I downloaded my own rapsheet. You can get your own by going here. Then I made a Monday/Wednesday/Friday sheet for those blogs that update often, a Tuesday/Thursday sheet, a Saturday sheet and a Sunday sheet. I filled up each sheet with the appropriate blogs or sites and voila! Now I can easily get my reading in and everyone's happy! 

So it's Thursday today, and when I logged into my computer this morning, I clicked on my T/TH RapSheet tab and opened the first blog. Because the sheets smoothly move on to the next one, when I have another minute, I can just click on the next blog because it saves my place for me. I don't miss any blogs that way and, well, it's just plain awesome, like I said. 

Check it out and let me know if it works for you too!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Put a Smile on Your Face

I spent a good deal of my day today feeling down and out. I wanted to post on this auspicious occasion, the first day with Barak Obama as our President-Elect, but until now I wasn't sure what I would say. 

Thankfully, I had the chance to listen to Glenn Beck today. After telling us we were not going to have a pity party on his show today, he said something very insightful.

"There was a revolution last night. It is the way America has revolutions. 
We don't have them with guns. We don't have them with violence. 
We have them at the voting booth, and it was a revolution last night."

He is totally right and so I will put away my frustrations over the election and fear for the future and put my shoulder to the wheel. I will prepare for the worst by making sure my home and my family are ready for what I fear might come. But I will turn my face to the sun and expect to feel its warmth.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Linguistically Challenged

So, some of you may know that I'm a Canadian. I grew up in a suburb of Toronto and lived in Canada until I was twenty four years old, or so. Canadians think Americans talk funny. Of course we do everything the proper way: We speak properly, we have better manners and, truth be told, we are smarter. Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just stating the facts.

I used to think all Americans talked like they were from down south. I called them Ah-Mah-ri-cahns because of how round they made their vowels. I thought it was funny to hear them talk.

Now, when I came to the States, many people couldn't understand certain words I said. You might not think there can be a big difference between the two countries, but apparently some Americans couldn't understand what I wanted when I said "garbage" instead of "trash", "bag" instead of "sack" and "pop" instead of "soda." 

But the real problem comes when I pronounce any word that has an 'ag' sound in it, for instance,bag. An American listening to me, would think I said beg. So I made a concerted effort to pronounce things more carefully, emphasizing the long a sound in the word bag

Lately, though, I've been having a bit of a cunumdrum. For some reason, I can no longer remember how to pronounce words, and very often I find myself stuttering over a word because what comes out of my mouth does not gel with how the word sounded in my head. It's causing me a great deal of turmoil. 

Who am I? How am I supposed to talk? It's a life crisis of major proportions because I nolonger instinctively know if I should sound like a Canadian or like an American. You have no idea how much difficulty this causes me.

And, the turmoil runs deeper to my long-accepted understanding that Americans talked funny but Canadians did not. For all my thinking that American's talked like they were all southerners, and maybe a little stupid, I'm finding that Canadians talk like they have a lemon in their mouths and a stick up their, ahem, you know where. 

Maybe I just shouldn't talk at all. I'll take up ASL, or maybe mime. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - or a Visiting Teaching Companion

Several choice seats were still available in the front row of Relief Society on a happy Sunday morning. But as I sat down, a girl I didn't know rushed up and said "Oh no, you can't sit here--I'm saving these for my friends."

Ouch. Couldn't I be a friend? Weren't we all supposed to be friends in Relief Society?

With my feelings hurt and my ire rankled, I slunk back a few rows and plunked myself down in a huff. I growled at that girl for the whole rest of class. My cup of human kindness had shattered into a thousand pieces in the kitchen sink. During that one class, over that one incident, I built up a very unhealthy dislike (read: hate) for that girl--Carol.

As luck would have it, within the week we got new visiting teaching assignments.

Guess what happened next. Can you guess? Come on, you can do it. 

Sure enough. Carol and I were assigned to be visiting teaching companions. 

I was so dismayed at the thought that I seriously considered asking to be reassigned. 

Our first few visits were extremely strained. It seemed our dislike for one another was intense and mutual. It was difficult to go on the Lord's errand when there were so many bad feelings between the two of us. I found I couldn't contribute to the conversation when Carol taught the lesson because I was working so hard at controlling my ugly feelings for her. I hated everything she said, even the way she said it. I was in a bad, bad place. And I was pretty sure she felt the same about me.

At first I prayed that we would get reassigned. "Please, Heavenly Father, bless me with a new visiting teaching companion."

But He didn't give me what I wanted.

Instead, He began to slowly change my heart. Soon, I found that my prayersbecame pleas to help me understand Carol, to be kind to her, so that we could better bless the sisters we were entrusted with.

As I prayed that our companionship could be strenghtened for the sake of our sisters, I found my heart was softened toward Carol. 

Carol, it turns out, was insecure and feeling like a fish out of water. She had moved to a new place with a young family and her husband travelled often. She was lonely.

As time passed, and my prayers to be a better companion to Carol were answered, I discovered a deep desire to be a better friend to her, as well. And she, not the horrible, awful girl I thought her to be, responded in kind. 

A friendship and mutual respect grew between us as we unified ourselves to serve our sisters. Our visiting teaching visits grew in meaning and we often felt the Spirit in remarkable ways during them. 

A year later, Carol was one of my truest friends, a friend for life. I had grown from this experience and learned that there is good in all things, even the hard things, if we let Heavenly Father join with us, to work with us.

In particular, He belongs on our visiting teaching visits. This is His work, afterall, and we ought to include Him when we go out.

When I felt such dislike for Carol, we had a hard time saying prayers together before we visited our sisters. But when I sought Heavenly Father's help He freely gave it. 

President Thomas S. Monson said, "It is the Lord's work, and when we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to the Lord's help." 

Had I not asked for His help in dealing with my awful visiting teaching companion, I might not have discovered how wonderful she was. She was a diamond, but I couldn't see her shining. I needed Father to clear my vision, to open my heart, so I could see her as He saw her. How much I would have lost, if I had never had Carol as my friend.

Sometimes we get difficult companion assignments. We feel it is a burden to spend time with the other person, we feel they hold us back, or there's something else about them that we feel we would be better off without. But I testify to you, that our assignments are made by divine inspiration and that very often there is a good reason why the two of you are together. 

A good companionship can truly bless the sisters they are assigned to teach. But a companionship that does not strive to have the Spirit of the Lord with them, does nothing to enrich their sisters lives. 

So, if you find yourself now, or sometime in the future, assigned with a companion you think you just can't stand, please, pray for her. Pray that you may come to love her. Pray to see in her what Heavenly Father sees in her. I know that He will bless you with inspiration into your companions character and heart and that your eyes will be opened. You will be blessed with an increased ability to love your companion, to care for her, and to respect her.

And with that love and respect, the two of you will truly be able to do the Lord's work and bless those sisters who have been entrusted into your care.

For more great articles on how to improve your visiting teaching efforts, please visit Jen's blog today for her Visiting Teaching Carnival!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Touch of Human Kindness

I wonder, where has the smile gone?

The "hi, how ya doin'?" 

The tip of the hat, the nod of the chin, the friendly hand shake?

Today the family and I went for a walk around a lake. It was lovely, the lake smooth like glass, the sky clear like aquamarine, just perfect. The lake is surrounded by a boardwalk, and it was busy with families enjoying the day.

I smiled at everyone we passed. Is that so strange?

If not, why then, did no one smile back? Well, to be fair, one lady did smile at me. 

But why only one of the dozens I passed? What has come of us, that we can't look outside of ourselves for a moment to brighten another's day? 

This is a trend that I have been noticing more and more of lately. I feel that I am alone when I'm out among others--they don't see me, and I'm not supposed to see them. Except, I am a human among humans and I like to feel like I'm a part of something. 

Tell me, where have the smiles gone? Where has that touch of human kindness gone that makes us so special?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Behind The Wheel

I've been doing a lot of thinking about road rage lately and what my attitude is when I'm behind the wheel. It's made me curious about YOU and how you feel when you're out on the road.

I don't get road rage. I can honestly say, I've never felt that surge of adrenaline that urges me to chase down another driver and sock it to 'em. 

I find driving a rather Zen-like activity. I'm trapped behind the wheel of my car. I can neither go any faster nor slower than the speed limit tells me (don't get me wrong, I'll take my 5 mph headway, thank you very much, but not very likely will I will I take much more.) If I get stuck in traffic, it's one of those things I cannot change, so I don't feel inclined to take it out on the driver in front of me.

Sure, I've been late. Sure, I've been stuck behind a driver who drove like Miss Daisy and failed to go when the light turned green thereby making me miss the light or ... you name it.

Yes, I've been cut off or in some other way endangered by another driver's inattention (or just plain rudeness) and muttered a choice word or two under my breath. 

But has it spurred me on to outdo them in the rudeness or violent driving category? No. I just keep on keepin' on.

But as I said, I'm fascinated by what it is that goes on in a persons mind when they get offended on the road and then feel that they just have to take it a step further. That it just isn't enough for them to flip another person off, or even to shrug it off--they have to run the offending driver down and make sure they know how ticked off they are.

If you have insight into the road ragers' mind, I'd love to hear it. Tell me, too, what your attitude is when you're out on the road. Are you dangerous? Are you a passionate driver? Impatient? Or are you pretty even-keeled? Do you have a ke sara sort of attitude?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Surprise! And ... surprise.

Last week was a week of surprises.

  1. We had problems with our main bathroom toilet leaking. We pulled up the toilet and discovered a horrible rotting mess underneath it. We had a plumber come take a look at it. His verdict? Mold. And he couldn't touch it.
  2. We called our insurance (thanks to my neighbor friends! because I hadn't even thought of calling them) and they sent out an adjuster. Turns out it is totally covered and all we need to pony up is our $500 deductable. Sweet! So we'll get our bathroom totally redone, new floors, paint, new fixtures and such, and all the work will be paid for with our insurance (we have to pay for the fixtures etc., but the 'base work' like the repair work and the floor and painting we will not have to pay for.)
  3. I took David away for the weekend. The boys and I managed to keep it an entire surprise ... I drove up to the hotel with David and he went "oh!" He figured I was taking him out to dinner to a place I wanted to keep secret, but he had no idea how it was really going to turn out!
  4. We went shopping at the Gateway on Friday night. I have been having a terrible time for a year now with my skin. It's mostly hormonal, but I have also been having a hard time finding a good skin care regimin as my old one no longer worked on my 'new' skin (a la hysterectomy and hormonal changes). So I went into the Apothecary store at the Gateway and after some discussion with the sales girl, decided to fork out $125 in skin care products. Bless my husband's heart, he didn't blink an eye. He wants me to be happy and if this stuff was going to help me, then he'd pay that and more. I had a hard time with it though ... that was a lot of money and I've never spent that much for that sort of thing before. 
  5. We enjoyed an evening of walking around the plaza and ended up at Barnes and Noble to buy some books (of course. No birthday excursion is ever complete with the purchase of copious amounts of books.) While at the store, I set my bag of very expensive lotions at my feet. My arms were full of books and I was feeling tired. I walked down the aisle to look at more books. When I turned back to retrieve my bag ... it was gone.
  6. I cried and cried. We looked everywhere. The sales staff was less than helpful. It seems that stolen things is the norm there. They sort of looked at us like we were nuts for thinking our bag could be safe (even though we were in the same aisle).
  7. We were really surprised at the difference between downtown Salt Lake City and the suburbs. If I had left my bag at the Jordan Landing store, I'm sure if someone saw it, they would come up to me, and say "Excuse me, is that your bag?" and/or they would turn it in to Customer Service. Downtown, however, whoever did it decided in a split second to grab the bag and, well, split. 

So that was our week of surprises. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm happy to report that I did not let the theft get me down for too long. I was pretty sad most of Friday night - feeling guilty, mostly, that I had spent that much money, that I had been careless with it - but David was beyond sweet and I got over it because he let me. We had a great weekend and are now enjoying a loud and disorganized house as our remodelling work gets underway.

Oh, and I forgot another awesome surprise! Saturday night I had a story idea! I haven't had one for a while and it's been making me depressed, lol. Not that I need any new story ideas because I already have a file full of novels waiting to be written, but this one is unique and special. I'll enjoy writing it some day!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I Always Knew I Was Hot

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win.  Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Plea from an Innocent Driver

Dear Mr. Scarey Man,

Today I fell in behind your large, shiny blue truck. I noticed you were having difficulty staying within your lanes, and I wondered if you were ill. Until I realized you were in the middle of a very dangerous game of chicken with a bulky carpet van.

I let my speed slow as much as I dared to do given the traffic behind me and the fact that we were on a 65 mph highway. 

When you violently pulled your truck alongside the carpet van; when I saw you lean across the passenger seat and raise your hand in the shape of a gun; when I saw you pretend to shoot the driver of the van, I actually began to feel afraid.

I am not a violent person. I suffer from some post trautic stress because of a very violent childhood. Once, I was pulled from a car by the jaws of life, only narrowly escaping death itself. Though I wouldn't say I scare easily, perhaps I am more sensitive to threatening situations than others.

But in that moment, I seriously began to wonder if I was witnessing something more than your average episode of road rage. 

I've had my share of honks or birds flipped in my direction. I've certainly seen it happen around me often enough. All of us make careless mistakes from time to time. I'm sure most of us do not intend any offense by our actions. 

However, today, what I saw you do, how I saw you behave, made me think that it was very possible something terrible was going to happen. 

After you pretended to shoot the guy driving the van, you drove in front of him and slowed down so hard that he was forced to hit the brakes too. Though I was following a safe distance behind his van, his sudden action caused a reaction in me. The car behind me was not following so safely and had to veer off the road in order to avoid rear ending me. 

Now, sir, I'm sure you could not have known this, but I had two young boys in the backseat with me. Your actions almost caused them their lives.

I thought that was the worst of it. But just moments later, the van either forced you off the road, or you were trying to share the same lane as him (I'm honestly not sure which, and I'm not trying to judge), because you went flying into the small island that separated the southbound ramp from the northbound. I took the northbound, but when your truck flew onto the sandy island and coughed up so much dirt and debris that for a moment it obscured my vision entirely, I hoped you would have enough sense not to take your anger out on me.

Please, I prayed, let us pass.

Thankfully, your intent was entirely on the carpet van. But to what purpose? I have no idea what happened between the two of you that caused you to become so very upset. However, I do know that your behavior, and yours alone (because the van's drive appeared to be driving perfectly normally with the exception of his required responses to your behavior), put my family in jeapardy.

I was an innocent driver on that road today, sir. And my children were innocent passengers. We did our best to avoid close proximity to you in your moment of frustration and anger, but despite that we came perilously close. Your driving may have cost us our lives. The fact that it didn't is, in my opinion, no excuse.

I would ask you to consider others as you use the roadways. Even if one person offends you, please don't let your anger cloud your good judgement. For, even though you had a Calvin sticker on your van, showing the plucky youngster peeing on the ground (and gosh, but that's just so cute and classy) I'm sure you don't really want to piss on others around you. I'm sure you want to be treated decently, just as I expect to be.

So next time someone offends you while you're behind the wheel of your car, please remember the rest of us, us innocent drivers, who share the road with you. 


An Innocent Driver

Monday, October 06, 2008

Our General Conference Adventure

Well, maybe it wasn't so much an adventure, but the title sounded well, adventurous and I wanted you stop by, lol! 
David and I were expecting company late Friday night for the weekend and we had a date planned and our house was a mess (courtesy of homeschooling and my inability to get everything done that I need/want to get done in a single day.) Oh, and we needed to get groceries.

We did manage to get the house tidied up sufficiently before our date, but we didn't get home from our date and shopping till almost midnight, Friday night. Then we had to put everything away, get everyone's clothes ready for the next morning and get our bag ready for the trip. Oh, and we needed to figure out whether we were going to drive or take the train.

Charlie had a pretty good case of the sniffles before we left for the date and though it might be sacriligious to admit out loud, or at least in writing, I secretly hoped he would have a full-blown cold nad we 'wouldn't have to go.' Naughty, eh?

We were so tired when we finally went to bed, and it was nearly two o'clock in the morning that when the alarm went off at 7:00 and it was raining outside I fully expected that I would hit the off button and slide on back to sleep. But, I did not!

Glory, Hallejuiah, I was awake! We decided to take the train because we couldn't figure out where the parking lot was that we had a ticket for. It was raining and gross, but we made it to the train in time, downtown on time, and into our seats reasonably on time.

The boys were fascinated by the people gathered to tell us how wrong we are in our beliefs. Bless them, they knew enough to realize that what the people were saying about us was untrue. 

They behaved well during the conference--perhaps even better than the teenage boy who sat next to us texting someone the entire time, or the pre-teen girl behind us who kept dropping things really loudly and was doing the full-on pout and whine for her parents. 

Thanks to all the advice on what to bring! I was able to keep the boys entertained and they did just fine.

Charlie said, "I'm sorry for complaining about coming to Conference. It was really fun!" He also had the big heart to realize that Grampa probably would ahve really liked to come and next time we should bring him. (I did ask him, but he said he couldn't sit in the seats long enough.) And he said he hoped we could back again some time.

Xander didn't say much, except that he was glad we went.

This isn't a very good picture - it was raining really hard when we got out and I had to make due with my camera phone.

Oh, and on the way home there was standing room only on the train. I got to teach great lessons to the boys about how to behave on a train ... like how they should give up their seat to a lady should there not be a seat for her. I was shocked at two men, a dad and his teenage son, who sat, carelessly, while two women in high heels tried to keep their balance by hanging on to the hand-loops. Where were their manners? 

We went to Denny's for lunch and talked over what we had learned. Then went home, got changed into our pj's and watched the rest of Conference at home with the fireplace on. Nice!

All in all, a great day, despite having running on very little sleep. It was a great blessing for all of us and I'm so glad we made the extra effort to go. It was totally worth it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

General Conference Questions

I need to poll all my LDS readers out there.
My family and I have the opportunity to go to the Conference Center for the Saturday morning session of General Conference this week. We wanted to go, while we had the chance, because after our move to Massacheusetts, we may never get this opportunity again.

But, I've never been to a General Conference session in person before, and I'm not sure if there's anything I can bring for my boys.

For instance, at home, we have a very well established tradition of staying put and listening to every session of Conference. However, they get to play bingo, draw and color, write in their journals ... you name it. As long as they are in the same room and are generally quiet, they stay very busy.

Can I bring a journal or notebook for them to write in/draw in during our session? I sort of assumed yes, because I had hoped to take notes myself, but ... if they are drawing, will people become offended?

I understand they can't kneel on the ground and write on their seat like they might at church but ... what do you think?

If you've ever been to a General Conference session with young children, I'd love to hear about your experience. Thanks a bunch!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've Got Personality

My friend Tami had this cool personality test on her blog. It goes beyond your usual blogthing gimmick. I think this is the real thing. Well that, and they promote it not as a game, but as a tool to help you find your best place in the work force--reminiscent of those career aptitude tests we took in highschool.

Tami's said she was a Guardian, and man, it sure seemed to sum her up pretty darn well. So I did the test myself. And was not disappointed.

This personality test, called the Kiersey Temperment Sorter places individuals into one of four temperaments--Guardians (40-45% of the population), Idealists (15-20%), Artisans (30-35%) and Rationals (5-10%).

I am an Idealist.

I found it simultaneously flattering and comforting to read what it said about 'my type'. It helped me feel good about the way I am, even the ways I am different from other people (and therefore sometimes sticking points for me and my self-esteem) and the ways that I feel I excel.

The description is fairly lengthy, but in summary Idealists are:
  • Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
  • Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
  • Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials.
  • Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.
I'm pretty pleased with that ;)

If you're interested in taking the test, go to ... then report back and let me know what Temperament you are. It would be fun to see.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Things I've Made

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I keep putting it off. But we've had a ton of babies born this year, and a couple more on the way, for which I've made things so I've had an influx of new pics on my computer. So I thought I'd start off by sharing a few of the most recent creations. Oh and these pictures were all taken by my cell phone because all of my cameras bit the dust this weekend. :( Sorry for the poor quality.

Daniel's Blessing Blanket

Daniel was born to Heidi and Brian this week.

This is the blanket they asked me to make for his blessing.
It's crocheted in a sort of pinwheel pattern with thread edging.

Emma's Sunday Outfit

Emma was born to Emily and Justin in July.
I hope they like this little outfit. 
It's the most beautiful thing I've ever made, I think.

This is the sweater and dress.

The bonnet has a big pink "boy" at the nape of the neck,
and one flower on the side.

Yet another picture.
I just love this so much, I wanted to show it off as much as possible.
The sweater has a flower on either side,
with tiny flower buttons.

Katrina's Rag Quilt

Jeannette's baby was born in August.
I feel kind of bad for giving a simple rag quilt, but there are so many babies now,
that I can't keep up with them all. I'll be making Chenny and Denack's babies rag quilts too.

With this one I went with a kind of wacky owl theme.
It's very non-traditional, though there is pink in there, there's
also a couple fun owl prints and lots of brighter colors.

So, there you have it! Just a few of the things I've been up to the last few months. I have lots more pics of things I've made over the years, and many more 'things' out there that I forgot to take pictures of! Hope you don't mind if I share from time to time!

Friday, September 26, 2008

6 Quirky Things Tag :)

My writing buddy, Jennifer, tagged me ... I'm supposed to write six unspectacular things about me. Unspectacular, eh? That's impossible because everything about is spectacular, right? LOL. Yeah, umm, right. Whatever you say, doc.

  1. One of my favorite ways to deal with stress is to pluck my eyebrows. For some reason I find it really relaxing. *U* So if you see my eyebrows getting thinner and thinner and eve sometimes my eyelashes too, you can bet I'm feeling a lot of stress and anxiety over something!
  2. Unlike Jennifer, I'm an extremely good navigator. Well, Jenn didn't say she was a bad navigator only that she was directionally dyslexic. I, on the other hand, am really excellent at remembering how to get to places or 'sensing' which way to go. I'm my own personal Urim and Thummin. Come to think of it, this is also one of the gifts I am given in my Patriarchal Blessing ... that I have the gift of discernment so that I will be able to 'tell others the way that the Lord would have them go.' Hmm.
  3. I'm afraid of going DOWN on escalators. I have a really hard time stepping out onto the downward running first step. I HAVE to stand on the right and grip the rail and I always have to wait for at least three or four stairs to pass before I can step out.
  4. When I set my alarm, it has to be for exactly :00, :15, :30 or :45. If I miss by even a minute, I have to go all the way through the numbers again. It can't be for :02 or :47 ... that just won't work for me.
  5. I love to tickle but I absolutely cannot abide being tickled myself. Try it, and you're likely to get bopped in the nose, buddy.
  6. I am not terribly spontaneous. I need to have plans. I'm not a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of girl. HOWEVER, if I make double-date type plans, I'll almost always find ways to get out of it because I get anxious about it. I talk myself out of it. So if we're going to do something as a group of friends, it's almost better to get me just a day or two before the thing, because otherwise I'll probably back out. Then again, if you only give me a day or two's notice I'm likely to say no because you didn't give me enough time to plan for it. :P
So there you go. Everything you never wanted to know about me and then some.

I'm going to tag Stephanie, Shana, Karen, Jeri, Jen and Kristi. Except my blog roll isn't working right now so I don't have your blog addies at this very second ... I'll add them later today!  Here's the rules to your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Link to me in your post.
Mention the rules on your blog.
List six unspectacular quirks about yourself.
Tag six other bloggers by linking them.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quick Update

Just wanted to quickly pop in and let you know I had that follow-up mammogram today and it was negative. YAY!

This test was quite a bit more squishy and ouchie than the original one, but I'm glad they got a good look. Better safe than sorry, right? 

Even though I didn't have any internal alarm bells warning me of something big coming down the pike, it was still a relief to get the 'all clear.' Whew.

While I'm talking about health, I'll also let you know that I have finally, after a whole year of trying, seen the bathroom scale tip the right direction! I'm down almost two pounds since I started WW two weeks ago. It's not much, but hey, I'll take it! It feels good to know that the efforts I'm making are working. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Your Own Personal Theme Song

Do any of you remember that show Ally McBeal? Do you remember the episode in which she discovered she had a theme song--her own personal theme song? 

I loved that episode and it sent me on a quest for my own theme song.

Since then, I've had many theme songs, depending on what was going on in my life. Sometimes I don't have one, but when I hear a song I resonate with I'll say, "Yeah! That's right, baby!" and voila, a new theme song is born.

That happened the other day. I actually think I've heard this song before and had the same reaction, only this time I remembered to, well, remember it!

by Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, oh, oh

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

(Esmee Denters singing - I thinks she's awesome!)

This is my theme song right now, not only for the writing symbology (which is obvious), but because it says that I am the only one who is me, the only one who can sing the song created for me, write the story in my head, live the life I was sent here to lead. I shouldn't try to live anyone else's life but my own. I am me, and I am the best ME ever made.

So, how about you? Do you have a theme song? If not ... maybe you ought to go out and get yourself one! 

Let me know what one you choose!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What I Want the World to Know ...

I am not an ardent follower of John McCain. However, given our choice, I choose freedom and there's only one man who will work to secure it. I add my sentiments to those expressed by the fine young man in this video. This is what I want the world to know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mammograms, Hormones and Fat, Oh My!

So, I got to see my GYN last week--first time since my post-hysterectomy check. I had a whole laundry list to talk to him about that ranged from my horrible acne problem to my horrible weight problem to an increasing social anxiety problem.

He verified that yes, I have gained a boatload of weight. Twenty pounds in year, to be exact. 

I'm short and small boned (no 'I'm big boned!' excuse for me!) and am now just on the verge of being officially called 'obese'. Forty pounds boys and girls and you get The Label.

Anyhow, I had to have my first mammogram. No one in my family has had breast cancer, but my mom and dad both died of cancer, my maternal grandfather, too. And my sister and I both have had adenomas removed from our colons that were pre-cancerous (that's just a friendly way of saying they were cancer but hadn't sown any seeds yet.)

My mammo tech, Joanne, was awesome and she warned me 'not to freak' if I got a call saying they wanted to do an ultrasound of my breast. Since it was my first mammogram they needed to take a close look at any anomalies so they could establish a reliable base-line.

Well, the call came today and though I didn't FREAK, I still felt that rush of adrenaline that's not the good kind. Anyway, I go back in next week for all that fun stuff.

But I have to say: Do NOT put off having a mammogram if you have been so far. It's honestly not that bad. It's quick and SO worth it. It felt good to be there doing something right for myself and my family.

Okay, back to my doc and all my complaints. 

He said probably my anxiety issues are an image problem and I just have to say: I love this man. He is most awesome. He sits and looks right at me and makes me feel like he gets me. Acne and fat belly and all. 

So he decided to switch around my hormones in an effort to relieve the acne problem. Five days on them and so far, so good. I still feel human, I haven't had the desire to eat my children or bite my husbands head off. I swear my acne is already getting better too--though he said that could take about a month. He did warn that these new pills may decrease my libido, so we'll have to see about that. So far I feel okay ;)

Now ... the fat.

I explained to him my complete confusion on the whole weight loss thing:

1. I did Weight Watchers for three months, religiously, and lost nothing. Went to my doc's PA who diagnosed me with pre-diabetes (which was why the low-cal diet wasn't helping me) and prescribed the South Beach Diet.

2. Did South Beach for four months religiously and only lost four pounds. That didn't seem like nearly the pay-off I deserved for how much I was denying myself. The holidays came and I decided to indulge myself.

3. Depression set in. I had failed at these two diets, life was hard, I sucked. Let's eat!

4. Months and months of taking no care. My body has turned into a pile of mush, more closely resembling a trembling bowl of overcooked oatmeal than a womans' body. I can't fit into any of my clothes comfortably anymore. I cry every Sunday morning (and have even skipped Church a time or two) because I can't bear to be seen in my fattened state. Nothing fits. I'm zitty. I'm fat. Leave me alone.

5. I go back to see my GP, stressing that this time I want to see HIM, not the PA. He says 'oh no, you're not pre-diabetic!' and says I need to do Total Health and Fitness (oh yeah, which costs $60/week btw!) No more low-cal diets. No more South Beach diets. I need to eat the THF way! When I tell him my husband is out of work and there's no way we can afford THF, he's at a loss for what to tell me and sends me away with only a vague understanding of what I can do to save myself.

6. Increased depression and fat-inducing eating ensues.

Which brings me to my visit with His Holiness Dr. Scott Hansen last week.

Dr. Hansen looks at my chart, and determines that my blood sugar was indeed indicative of an insulin problem. He prescribed Glucophage, or Metformin, which is a type II diabetes medication. They also use it for PCOS patients (which I had, though I don't have ovaries anymore) and has a side effect of weight loss. And he told me to do WW because they have a higher long term success rate than any other weight loss program, I can eat what I like, within their allowances and I'll get lots of support along the way.

Oh and the best part? I did NOT need to have a pap done because I no longer have a cervix, lol! I honestly wasn't sure if he'd left it in or not! Yes, I had an internal, but it was brief and I survived.

So it's been a week since I started back with WW. I am not doing well. But, I also haven't gone shopping so there hasn't been the appropriate things for me to eat in the house. I got started on the community boards online so I could have a good support system. I need to go join the gym because I think I need water aerobics to get moving again--my fibromyalgia has been acting up something awful, which is typical when you ... guess what? ... don't exercise! Don't exercise, hurt more, hurt more and you don't want to exercise! Such is life.

I'm not going to challenge anyone to join me. I suck at challenges. I'm just putting it out there in case there's some other girl out there who once thought "why do people let themselves get fat, when they can totally stop it?" and now finds herself trapped inside a body that is JUST GETTING FATTER seemingly despite all your best efforts. I feel like I'm drowing inside the fat, getting lost inside, and soon no one will be able to see me at all. 

I'm not feeling very hopeful, really, at the moment, but I'm reaching up and hoping for a hand to hold on to. I'm praying a lot for help, and know that I will be helped, the more I reach out and look for it. 

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Decision to Homeschool

Sorry I've been MIA. No, Candace, I've not moved yet! IF we move it won't be until the spring/early summer but we're not even sure if it's going to be required of us. There's been some buzz that the IT team will be built here in Utah, rather than in Massachusetts. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I've been busy with something else.

I've decided to homeschool the boys this year.

This is not a whim of any sort ... it's been my plan since before they were born. However, their twin dynamic was such that Charlie would never allow himself to excel because he wouldn't even try--not if Xander had already tried and already succeeded. Xan is one of those brothers everyone hates to have; he's an overachiever in every sense of the word.

So I sent the boys to public school for a time so they could have an opportunity to be their own men, to figure out who they were separate from one another.

But then the whisperings came that grew in persistence, telling me that it was now time to bring them home.

I was thrilled to discover a virtual academy that operates like a charter school, (meaning free to me!) and provides the supplies, the curriculum, teacher support and state testing (which I like because I'll have proof that I am not breaking my children.)

We applied to the K12 school, but initially did not make it in via the lottery. However, in June we were notified that the boys did get a spot. I hesitated to mention anything about it here, because honestly, I kept expecting to wake up the next day and change my mind.

But each day only brought a return of peace of mind and an assurance that homeschooling my boys was in fact the right thing for my family. So here we are, two weeks into our K12 school experience and ... I'm still happy with our decision!

In the meantime, I've found that I can't handle very many other (read: none) extra curricular activities. I haven't been blogging or reading my favorite blogs. I haven't been reading anything other than homeschooling books (oh joy!) and I haven't been spending any time with friends. This is not bad, this is just an adjustment. I don't anticipate I will always feel this consumed with my homeschool, this is just a learning period.

But I wanted to apologize for not visiting your blogs and for not writing more often myself. Whatever few brain cells I've got have all been going to this schooling thing. I need to start saving some for my other activities! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Charlie and Xander are Getting Baptized

Remember the Baptism Banner I made for the boys? What an amazing experience that has been. It has blessed our family and helped prepare the guys so well for their baptism. It's been wonderful. Earlier this month they each bore their testimony about their preparations; it was sweet to hear it from their prespective - a little payback, you know?

They have both earned their knights and are both feeling really excited and happy for their big day.

Yesterday I took them to the Salt Lake Temple to take their baptism pictures. It was a sweet experience with lots of wonderful teaching moments.

I love my boys with all my heart. They are my guiding lights, my own personal north stars.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farworld Has a Winner!!!

I had four brave souls enter to win an autographed ARC of J. Scott Savage's awesome new book Farworld: Water Keep.

In response to what the wizard meant when he spoke about how every person is magic, they wrote:

He's talking about the ability we all have to make changes in our lives, to do the things we want. If we sit back and do nothing then the magic does not happen but if we put our minds to it, we all have magic in us, we can change things around us. ~ Kari

* * *

In my current state of mind, his words are a soothing balm telling me that I do have the power within myself to accomplish what I need to. I may be overwhelmed, but he is telling me that even when I don't know it, the I can find the resources I need within myself to succeed. ~ Anne

* * *

What Master Therapass words mean to me is that we all have potential. He told Kyja that the real power lies in who you are, what you do and what you may become. It’s all about how we take possibilities and make things happen in our own lives. Whether we believe we have magic in us or not, what we do with the circumstances that are placed before us will determine whether our lives are magical or not. ~ Cathy

* * *

His words mean to me that magic isn't what everyone may think it is. Magic is different for every person. The words tell me that I may not be able to do magic like everyone else but I have my own special magic inside of me. That even though I am different, I have special things in store for me too. I would look at magic differently. I would look harder at others and see their own unique magic. I would see myself as some one that has a certain destiny set out for me. I wouldn't view myself as totally different from everyone else any more. I would see myself as someone that could accomplish something with out special magic just as well as someone who has magic. ~ Laurel
I found these hard to judge because they all, in my opinion are totally correct. In the end though I had to settle on just one winner (though you are all winners to me!) and so I picked ... - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Her answer was short and succinct and summed up exactly what the wizards words mean to me, too.

We do have the power to change the world, by utilizing the power within us. It may not 'seem' like magic - at least not the magic of fairy tales, but it is magic nonetheless, because it has power, it is unseen, and it can move mountains - even if those mountains are simply ourselves.

Congratulations Kari! And thank you Cathy, Anne and Laurel for reading my blog and entering my contest!

Thanks especially to Scott for offering up a book to our lucky winner. Even if you didn't win, please stop by your local book store in September and pick up your own copy of Farworld: Water Keep ... or, easier still, simply click here.

Kari, shoot me an email and let me know who you would like the book autographed to and remind me of your address. ali at aworkofheartphotography dot com.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Man Rules

This email's been going around for a long time, but recently it came around to me again and I thought I'd post it. I love this. It cracks me up. It is SO true, don't you think?

Man Rules According to The Man

Man Rules. Take note all you girlies and Learn them.Its the Law
These are our rules! Please note.. These are all numbered '1 ' ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports It's like the full moon. Or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. You can either ask us to do something, or tell us how you want it done. Not both.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...Really ...

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as RUGBY or Motor sports.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;
But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Only Five More Days for the FarWorld Contest!!

I've decided (arbitrarely, because this is, after all, my blog) that I will draw this contest to a close on Sunday. Is that five days? My brain is fried and I'm not sure of anything any more. But Sunday, anyway, that's August 24th, this contest will come to a close.

Go here to read all about it and find out how you can win your very own autographed copy of Farworld: Water Keep!

Seriously, you're gonna want this book. It's AWESOME!!

Knowing Your Limits

I haven't posted in a long time because I've barely been keeping my head above water. I have been happily engaged in a number of activities which singly would have been awesome, but together have just about done me in.

Thing is, it wasn't much stuff at all.

But, it somehow managed to be TOO much stuff anyway.

And, as usual, it's fodder for my stream-of-consciousness thinking here.

So, how do you know what is too much for yourself? Or, when to say 'when'?

My problem is, all the stuff is GOOD stuff. All of it worthwhile and valuable. But more than that, I can honestly say pride plays a big role in my willingness to take on that one-too-many thing. I see many friends who appear to do way more than me (of course, what goes on behind closed doors I'm not privy to,) but still, they seem to be able to do it all. And I would like to appear that way too. Except I don't seem to have any closed doors. All my insanity seems to happen on a public stage. I can't appear to do it all, while privately having a nervous breakdown. Oh now, I just fall apart in front of everyone. Nice.

Then again, maybe it is nice. Keeps me real, right? What you see with me is definitely what you get. I am what I am. I is what I is. And all that.

Ok, so I've accepted that everyone has a different invisible line at which point our internal line-sensors say STOP! DO NOT ACCEPT ONE MORE TASK/RESPONSIBILITY! I know where mine is, I can almost always identify it by that sinking feeling in my stomach when someone asks me to do something.

What I'm not sure how to do, is to actually say NO, because saying no would be admitting (before the public display ensues) that I am not capable and we all know I am highly capable. At least, mostly. Particularly if there isn't already a whole line-up of things on my to-do list before you ask me. Oh yes, I am capable, and willing, but only if I have not yet crossed my imaginary TOO MANY THINGS line.

This last time this happened, I felt the line zap me as I crossed over it, like an invisible electric fence. Except I just ignored it and said YES anyway. Too bad I did, since a few days later I was reduced to tears, subjected myself to that public display I alluded to earlier and failed to produce the thing I was supposed to anyway. So I might as well have paid attention to my line and said NO and I wouldn't have embarassed myself and all would be well.

Except maybe my pride wouldn't have survived. But did it, anyway? In a way, yes. Because I did TRY, right? Will I be able to feel good about myself if I don't even try? If I just say NO because I feel I might cross my line?

I don't know. But I think it's high time I tried. I've got to find my sense of pride in something else rather than in being everyone's Girl Friday, because honestly? I suck at that job.

So, I'm learning to know my limits AND to be willing to honor them. Do you? Know your limits? Stick to them? Good for you, if you do. Care to share how you manage?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Room for Two by Abel Keogh ~ Blog Tour!

I first heard Abel Keogh speak at the 6-7-8 Writers’ Conference in June of this year. He was engaging, charming and personable. He spoke about his book, Room for Two, and what he learned about promoting it. I was intrigued by Mr. Keogh and immediately wanted to read his book.

You can imagine, then, how quick I was to jump at the chance to read and review Room for Two for you. I was eager to do it, and it did not disappoint.

Room for Two tells Mr. Keogh’s own true story. It’s sometimes tragic, certainly sorrowful, but in the end, full of hope. For a taste of what this book has to offer, here’s how the back cover reads:

"Sweetie, I'm home." I tried to put as much kindness into my voice as possible. I didn't want to have another argument - at least not right away. Silence. "Sweetheart?" A gunshot echoed from our bedroom, followed by the sound of a bullet casing skipping along a wall. Everything slowed down.

At times I found the reality of Mr. Keogh’s experience hard to bear. Sometimes I didn’t want to continue reading. But I’d read in other reviews that the book was inspiring and after becoming somewhat depressed from what I’d read, I needed to get to the inspiration part! I’m happy to report, it did not disappoint.

Not only is Room for Two an intriguing glimpse into the heart and mind of a young widower, particularly that of a man whose wife had taken her own life—and that of their unborn daughter, but it offers all of us an opportunity to try to discern for ourselves what we are made of and how we will view the challenges we face in life.

There’s a wonderful little lesson that Mr. Keogh shares—a remembered conversation with his mom. I don’t want to give it away, but it is a gem that makes the entire book worth reading.
If you enjoy true stories, particularly those that feature the triumph of the human spirit over the tragedies of life, you will love Abel Keogh’s Room for Two. You can buy your own copy by clicking here. You can also go to Mr. Keogh’s own site for more information about him and his story.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Preparedness Principles by Barbara Salsbury ~ Blog Tour!

I love, love, love this book!

Since I received a calling a few years ago to be our Ward’s Preparedness Specialist, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for this topic. I was released after only one year, just as I felt I was beginning to get a handle on all the myriad aspects of preparedness. I should rephrase that. I was just starting to understand all that needed to be done, and still, after a year, only just getting my toes wet. What I wouldn’t have done for this book by Barbara Salsbury!

Preparedness Principles by Barbara Salsbury, managed, in a mere 354 pages, to encapsulate all the essential elements to proper home preparedness.

At first, I thought there was no way Salsbury could adequately cover all that her table of contents promised to cover in such a relatively ‘short’ book. But her writing is so succinct, her handle on the subjects so complete, that she is able to share them in a understandable and complete fashion. Even the chapter on indoor gardening, “Growing Your Own Groceries: Mighty Mini-Gardens,” was filled with enough information that I felt I could go out and do what she suggested.

Salsbury tackles subjects as diverse as how you can store a McDonalds in your cupboard to a unique way to use your thermos in an emergency and the documents you must have in your 72-hour kit. My mind has been opened to all the possibilities and with Salsbury’s excellent grasp on the subject and her ability to convey all she knows in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand fashion, I feel like I can really do this!

I wish I had this book when I was our Ward Preparedness Specialist because I think, with its help, I would have been able to educate my Ward members on a lot more subjects and encourage them to not feel afraid about the small steps they could take. I would have recommended to them, as I do to you now, that you invest in this book.

You can buy Prepardness Principles yourself by clicking here. I encourage you to do so. Even if your interest in food storage is minimal, all of us can see the value in being prepared for any emergency that might come our way. In this day and age, I think all of us would find some comfort in being prepared.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you Barbara Salsbury for this excellent, informative and helpful book!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips ~ Blog Tour!

Recently I had the privilege of reading Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips. I had wanted to read this book since I sat behind Barry at the 6-7-8 Conference at Cedar Fort Publishing in June of this year. I was the unfortunate road block between a conversation between Candace Salima and Barry and it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement that Barry exuded.

He was fairly bursting with the great news of the upcoming release of his new book Caught in the Headlights—and his enthusiasm was contagious! So I was equally thrilled when Candace contacted me and asked if I would be willing to review Barry’s book. Willing? Absolutely! Ecstatic is a better word.

I am happy to report that Barry’s book is something to be proud of—no wonder Barry couldn’t wait to tell his friends at the conference about its release. I want everyone to read this book and I didn’t even write it!

The press release for Caught in the Headlights reads:

“From goals such as happiness, self-esteem, protecting our pride, or the perfect physique, Phillips takes a closer look at those aims prized by society and explores how we can pursue higher goals. A thoughtful, funny, and at times profound look into the real reasons we all have for the things we do, this book will entertain, enlighten, and inspire.”

I was surprised by some of the goals Barry included in the book—like the perfect physique. But when I read his take on it and how his quest for that perfect bod really became a search for _____ I understood why it had to be there. Of course it had to be there. Too many of us are way too caught up in how we look and not enough concerned with the quality of person we are on the inside.

Others, like Pride and Forgiveness, resonated with me.

On Pride, Barry said:

“Pride is about comparisons. You never become happy with what you have or what you have accomplished because you always need to keep ahead of everyone else. Rather than being happy for another’s success, you despise them for it. It’s as though you are playing a zero sum game and if anyone else gets something, you are diminished. Even if another’s success is not related to you or your world at all. And if they are in your field, your world, or your sphere, then the pain of their success is almost too much to bear. Pride brings a fear of losing that which we value most—the love and admiration of everyone we see. Of course, as we just talked about, if you are prideful, you don’t’ have their love and admiration to begin with. You just think you do.”

You have to read the book for yourself to find out what it is that Barry believes we really need when what we desire is to be proud. Here’s another little taste to pique your interest—on Forgiveness:

“One of the hardest things I’ve had to do is to truly forgive someone. That may surprise you, and I know it did me. It seems so easy to do, until you are faced with a situation where you’ve really been handed a raw deal. The truth is, most times we can usually find something we could have done better ourselves in a given situation. But that doesn’t matter. Even if you are completely in the right with no fault of your own—like the woman with the frozen turkey—the requirement is the same. Forgive.”

In addition to Pride and Forgiveness, Barry offers truly insightful thoughts on Happiness, Self-Esteem, Freedom, Control, Tolerance, Success, The Big Event, and of course, The Perfect Body. The only thing I didn’t totally love about Caught in the Headlights were the poems at the end of each chapter. It’s not that that they were bad, they just didn’t thrill me. What did thrill me were the original cartoons at the beginning of each chapter—they were really funny!

You can buy the book here, or check out your local bookstores. You can also check Barry out at his site and blog. Oh, and if you’re a Glenn Beck fan, you’ll appreciate knowing that he gave his stamp of approval on Caught in the Headlights—and you know, if Glenn likes it, it’s gotta be good! And, for what it’s worth, I approve of it too—buy this book, and buy a couple more for co-workers or friends—this book is a keeper.