Friday, December 3, 2010

Words for this Special Season

Our Christmas celebration this year will be more about service and less about "stuff". It just feels right. Our focus will be on the precious gifts brought to earth with the birth of the Son of God: peace, love, and hope. I have a feeling those things will bring us serenity.

"Love cannot remain by itself--it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service."

--Mother Teresa--

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Almost December

The last time I posted a blog it was summer--the temperature was hot, the grass green, and the flowers blooming. It is now the end of November--the temperature is cold, the grass is covered in eight inches of snow, and the only flowers I see are the ones I buy at the grocery store.

I'm sorry for the lack of communication. Since Shawn's death in May, George and I have had a hard time getting back to the "normal" of life. In fact, we don't know what "normal" looks like anymore. We also lack energy, which means we take care of the necessities of life and little else.

Not to worry. Our faith is strong and we will move through this, but we have to be reasonable about what we take on and what we let go.

I will try and write a line or two every now and then.

In the meantime...cherish life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm a Conservative

Yep. I am.

I attended the Glenn Beck American Revival meeting in Salt Lake City this past Saturday--that's how conservative I am. The meeting was nothing short of inspiring! The speakers were knowledgeable, articulate, and truthful; the crowd of 6,000 was enthusiastic and respectful (sorry, no racism or short-sightedness); and the message was one of HOPE.

One of the speakers gave this quote--it sort of sums up how I want to go forward in fighting to bring America back to what the original Founding Fathers intended.

"Hope is born of Faith, grounded in Truth, and expressed in Action."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Losing a Child

Parents--you know that feeling when you lose a child in a department store? One moment they're beside you and the next moment they're nowhere to be seen. Your heart drops into your stomach as panic sets in. Your focus becomes only them--finding them--making sure they're safe. You scramble down the aisles, praying silently, and calling their name over and over again. Others in the store sense your distress and helplessness; many come to help.

My husband and I had two very adventurous children, so we've experienced that panic on a few occasions. It's terrible. But, oh the great relief when you finally hear their voice or see their little faces as they come trudging down the aisle with one of the store clerks. After the initial breath and blessed relief, you go through a succession of emotions from joy to anger. It's all because you love them so much.

Almost two months ago, we lost our son. Not to distraction at the mall, but to death. He was thirty-two years old, not six. He was taken by illness, not a self-styled escape from Mom. Never-the-less, the resultant panic and emotion was very much the same. All those in the family who loved him felt absolutely helpless. Others felt our distress and came to help. But, there was no voice heard--no seeing of his face--no store clerk bringing him back to us. It is silence and desolation that goes on and on. We have been through many emotions, because we love him so much. It is pain that actually settles in your heart and makes it hard to breathe.

Here is where faith comes in.

We found ourselves reaching for strength and comfort in our testimonies of spiritual truth. We felt peace from the doctrines of eternal life and the promise of the Resurrection. We held the hand of the Savior as He wept with us and shared our sorrow. This isn't just a bunch of words; this is a tangible comfort that enfolded us and continues to enfold us during the most devastating earthly trial we've had to face.

I may not hear my son's voice right now. I may not see his face. But, I know one day I will. One day I will see him and I will breathe again and I will feel only joy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Fourth of July!

Sunday will be the Fourth of July; the celebration for our country’s declaration of independence from the rule of monarchy of Great Britain. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love this country. I stand in awe of the brilliance of the founding fathers, I marvel at the strength and simplicity of the Constitution they scribed, and I cherish the liberty that came of their struggle.

It is a blessing to live in this country—a blessing that many Americans have been lax to appreciate and honor. I think the current attempts to twist this country’s foundational principles have brought a drowsing population awake. City and country Americans alike are renewing their commitment to the tenets of the original Constitutional concepts; they’re speaking out against a transforming of this nation’s purpose; they’re reevaluating their own virtue and values.

Samuel Adams said: “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue.” Adams also said: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

George Washington referred to religion and morality as the “great Pillars of human happiness.”

My voice is small, but I concur with these great men who pledged their lives, property, and sacred honor, that in order for America to remain good, her people must be good.

As I pledge allegiance to the flag, this Fourth of July, I will also pledge to be a better person. One by one we can set America back on a path of greatness.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I spent the day attempting to get my life organized. Over the past month my home, my work, and my mind has been scattered, messed up, and chaotic. And, none of those things denote calmness or equanimity. I've been feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Then today I heard my mother's voice inside my head telling me that I'd feel better if there were some order to my space.

Another little voice screamed, "It's too much! You can't do it!"

My mother's voice won out though by reminding me to start small and only do a few tasks--her gentle voice reminding me to not try and tackle everything at once.

So, I started small. I sorted the laundry. Then, I washed a load of towels. Then, I put the load of towels in the dryer and placed a load of permanent press in the washer. I even remembered to put in the laundry soap.

Now I know this sounds mundane, but when you've suffered a great loss, it's very difficult to do anything "normal", or to watch other people doing "normal" things. You wonder how life can go on the way it does when your life is altered for all time.

I found there was something soothing about doing mundane everyday things, so I decided to keep on with my tasks. When evening fell I discovered a folding table full of clean clothes, dishes done, and even a trip to the post office accomplished. I also found it easier to breathe.

I know the grief will be sticking around for a long time, and there's nothing I can do about that. But, I know Shawn would be upset with me if I allowed sorrow to get the upper hand. So, tomorrow I plan to go grocery shopping and, the day after that, I might cook dinner. I know it will make me feel better, hubby will be amazed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

Yesterday, George and I spent the entire morning at the cemetery where our son is buried. We went, not to be maudlin, but to feel the peace of shared grief, to pay tribute to the military heroes commemorated by this day, and to express feelings of love for our son.

We were touched by the thousands of flower arrangements placed lovingly on the graves, and knew they represented a family member or friend taking the time to share love and memories. In fact, there were several large family groups circled around grave sites and talking--some folks were even sitting in lawn chairs or on blankets sharing stories and passing on the legacy to the little ones of the family.

We listened to the music of several bands, and shed a few tears when the Scottish bag-pipers played their selection of tunes. It was a good day and a difficult day. We know it will be difficult for a long time. We know the pain is the price we pay for having loved our son so much.

Memorial Day has taken on a deeper significance.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I just opened my blog and realized that I last posted a thought on May 12. Latter in the afternoon my husband and I would find out that our dear son had unexpectedly passed away. He'd been sick with the flu for three days, but we certainly could not have expected such a devastating outcome.

Be kind to each other.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nice People

The world is made up of nice people. Oh, I know, the nay sayers will insist that there are bad, weird, and crummy people populating the planet too, and I would have to concede, but it has been my experience that the nice far outnumber the negative. I will give you an example.

I just returned home from a trip to Texas where I was privileged to be the key-note speaker for a meals-on-wheels fundraiser. I had never been to Texas nor had I met the people organizing the event. I'd surmised them to be people of heart because they were working to care for the seniors in their area, providing great services, one of which was the meals-on-wheels program.

Getting off the plane, I looked about for the two women who were to meet me, and was greeted by two smiling faces. Within the first few minutes of introductions I felt a calmness and connection. As we drove to the hotel we chatted amiably about this and that, finding common ground in family, faith, and service.

Later that evening I was blessed to meet more good people of substance as I went to a delightful dinner with members of the CSS (Community Senior Services) board. These were people who had decided that doing service was a good way to spend one's time. And, I knew that this altruism was repeated hundreds of thousands of time across the nation and the world.

Good people.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


After a few months of intense work, George and I opted for a little vacation. We are at Disneyworld. It is fun. It is tiring (on the days we visit the parks). It is relaxing (on the days we sit by the pool). Vacations are necessary. In most countries in Europe vacations are called holidays, and bosses insist their employees take holidays to renew and rejuvenate. Makes sense to me. Vacations give the mind, body, and emotions time to rest, and normally a person returns from a vacation more alert and with a fresh perspective on how to solve problems in their field. Sounds good, doesn't it?

So, I am off to rest and rejuvenate. Heaven knows, in a few days I will be back at the grind and I'll need every bit of alertness I can muster. Alertness? Is that a word? Oh, who cares, I'm on vacation!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Writer's Conference

I just returned home from a writer's conference in Provo, Utah.

Provo, Utah? Yes, and it was fabulous! There were over 400 participants, the workshops were informative, the keynote speakers were inspiring, and the food was tasty. It was so much fun to rub shoulders with other writers--some of us already published, and some just starting to put pen to paper, or fingers to computer keys.

I had the privilege of teaching a workshop about writing historical fiction, and my attendees had such great ideas and great enthusiasm. It was inspiring to see the passion many of these folks had for the written word, and the persistence they had in the face of rejection. (Of course, rejection comes with the territory).

I also sat down at "Boot Camp" with three very talented women who wrote children's picture books, and together we worked to structure the delightful pieces into saleable products. It was so much fun to be involved in that rudimentary process. Thanks ladies for the opportunity.

I would advise anyone, with the slightest inclination to write, to attend a writer's conference and get inspired!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thoughts on Life

We are experiencing a phenomenal sunny day! Where yesterday there were clouds, there is blue sky. Where there was snow and sleet, there is a soft clear breeze. My dog sleeps in a patch of sun on the kitchen floor, and I don't have to turn on a light at noon to read a book.

I'm not complaining about the rain and snow; we need it for the parched summer months, I'm just trilled with today--with the beauty of a spring--with having feelings of gratitude--with the metaphor I acknowledge.

I've been through some tough times recently (like the dark gloomy days), and now, for a time at least, things have settled down (sunshine). I made it through the tough times by giving things over to God. The mean and scary situations were nothing over which I had any control, so who better to pick up the burden? I do the best I can to be the best me I can be, and I leave the rest to God. It works out very well. I don't shirk my responsibilities, but I don't waste time in worry.

Here's a quote from Martin Luther that I repeat often to myself:

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."

Monday, April 5, 2010


The Cleansing of America

a book by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen

Anyone familiar with Dr. Cleon Skousen's book, The 5000 Year Leap, and its association with the founding of America will probably look at his newest book, The Cleansing of America, published by Valor Publishing, and surmise it to be a follow-up book. Not so. While it does talk about America's political underpinnings, it is much more a book of end-days prophesy and America's role in that process. Appreciation for the content requires a belief system grounded in prophets, latter-day revelations, and personal preparedness--spiritually as well as temporally.

The book reads like a textbook. Skousen himself states in the introduction that the book comprises seven chapters which were seven independent lectures addressing a common subject from different perspectives. The central theme is the way in which the land of America will be prepared for its place in the end days prophesies. At the conclusion of each chapter is a list of questions, which suggests that the book's most useful application would be in a group setting where discussion could take place.

Dr. Skousen maps destructive forces in this country pulling us from the values and ideals first established by the founding fathers. He talks about the scourge that the Lord will utilize to "cleanse and scour America" of its wickedness, and includes prophesies concerning the same. Indeed, the book delves into doctrinal areas not normally covered in Sunday study: The battle of Armageddon, the calling of the 144,000, and the ushering in of the millennium, to name just a few.

The book was simultaneously fascinating and disconcerting. It's that debate of having your fortune told...I'm intrigued, but do I really want to know the future? If your curiosity wins out, I think you will find, The Cleansing of America, to be informative and thought provoking.

The book seems well researched and documented, with copious source notes at the end of each chapter, and while it would be difficult to check all the references, at some point one must trust Dr. Skousen's scholarship.

I did have one peeve that deals with an editing blunder. Periodically throughout the text a word or phrase would be capitalized, I suppose to EMPHASIZE its importance, but the effect was jarring. I suppose Dr. Skousen included these CAPITALIZATIONS in his original manuscript to instruct the reader to a pertinent idea, but I would rather do my own underlining and highlighting. I think the editors at Valor should have removed the capitals.

The Cleansing of America is being published posthumously by Dr. Skousen's family. He told them that they would know the "right time" to dust off the manuscript and present it to the world for inspection. In America's current political climate, the timing seems right.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thoughts on Life

God gave us two ears, but only one mouth. Some people say that's because He wanted us to spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it's because He knew that listening was twice as hard.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thoughts on Life

I am sad today. I woke up to a different America. An America transformed by the Democratic party into a place of deeper entitlements. With the passage of the health care bill we move not only steps away from the ideals of the Constitution, but miles.

The founding fathers intended that the federal government remain small. They limited the government with many checks and balances. They set forth that Congressmen should be practical working men who would come away from their toil in their fields or businesses for a short span of time to serve the people of the country. They would then return home and take up the cause of freedom in their own communities.

The founding fathers also knew a vital truth that today's elected representatives have obviously forgotten--they must follow the will of the majority. If the voice of the majority of people cried out for or against a certain piece of legislation, the members of the government were bound by their sacred honor to listen and abide by that voice. This is not the way of things today. Poll after poll showed that more than 55% of the American people were opposed to this bill, especially the sections providing government funding for abortion, and monies allotted for health care of illegal aliens. Did our representatives listen? No.

Of course, it must have been hard for those poor Congressmen with all the arm twisting, bribes, and backroom deals that were being done by the President and the Speaker of the House.

And this wasn't just about health care. Passage of this bill gives the federal government huge control over 1/6 of our economy, and huge control over our lives. Passage of this bill was about power not compassion.

So, I'm sad today, and I think the founding fathers are shedding a few tears too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thoughts on Life

I Wonder What the Democrats are Thinking?

I am a conservative Republican, and here's why. I was raised by a father who grew up during the depression. His mother died when he was six, and not long after that he contracted polio. His legs were weakened and his left arm was completely crippled. Now, for Democrats this would be a sob story worthy of lots of government care and concern. The only thing is, my father would have found it offensive to expect someone to "take care of him" especially the government. He grew up in a time when people took care of themselves, their families, and their neighbors. A man worked hard at any type of labor in order to take care of his family.

So, were my father alive today, I know he'd be having a fit over the health care bill being argued in Congress. He would hate that it runs 2700 pages, that no one knows what's in it, and that the Dems are forcing it down our throats. I also think he would have agreed with the sentiments of one of the founding fathers, James Madison.

"It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?"

Hm...sound familiar?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thoughts on Life

Words to the Wise

A teacher asked a student to sum up Socrates' life in four lines. Here's what he said:

1. Socrates lived long ago.

2. He was very intelligent.

3. Socrates gave long speeches.

4. His friends poisoned him.

On that note I'll keep this post short!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thoughts on Life

To break my cycle of not writing blogs, I'm going to flex my fingers, take a deep breath, and do a month long series about life. I love to collect funny and thought-provoking quotes from folks, and I thought I'd share some of them with you along with a few observations of my own.

So, here is the first thought by "author unknown".

"Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake."

Laughter is a huge part of life. If I'm feeling down or cranky, I call up one of my friends and we go out to lunch and laugh our heads off about something. There's always something is this crazy world to make us laugh. Have you seen those E-Trade commercials with the little baby at the computer? If you have, you're laughing at this moment, aren't you?

So, be sure and have a good laugh today!

Hm...perhaps tomorrow I'll write something about chocolate cake.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Where Have I Been?

My daughter lovingly (well, not so much so), reminded me that I haven't written anything on my blog page for quite awhile. I know...sorry. I've been a bit busy reading books. I was asked to be a judge for a book contest, and had to read 10 historical fiction novels in 4 weeks. It was intense, as some of the books were quite hefty...600 plus pages! That's a lot of reading. In fact, there was one point where my eyes got a bit bleary. I thought, "Oh no, I'm going cross eyed or something!" I know, it was a bit melodramatic, but at least I only screamed it inside my head. Luckily, with a little rest and some eye drops, I was back in business.

I've also been preparing my next novel for publication. This process is fun, exciting, and grueling. The book is historical fiction and takes place in 1917 Russia during the Bolshevik revolution. The title is, The Silence of God, and it's due out the last week of May or first week of June. I will attach several pictures of Russia which were taken during a research trip for the book. Let me know what you think.

I will take my sweet daughter's advise and try to do better at updating my post. Hey! Maybe I can talk her into writing a few blogs for me. That's only fair, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, George!

I want to wish a Happy Birthday, to my sweet husband George! I won't divulge his age, although he's so even tempered, he probably wouldn't mind. He's a good hubby, father, brother, and friend.

We celebrate his birth.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, January 4, 2010


The sun is shining! The prospect of snow is in the forecast for tomorrow or the day after, but today--sun. I'm sitting in my office attempting to organize my thoughts and my writing schedule, but it's not working. My mind keeps sliding back to the just finished holidays with their subsequent lack of structure. It's like trying to write at the beach.

Have you ever read Gift from the Sea, by Anne Marrow Lindburg? (Amazing book). In one scene, she talks about taking all her writing implements: notebooks, paper, pencils to the beach with every intention of using the blissful peacefulness to compose a chapter or two. Well, she soon finds that the beach is not the ideal place to write. One's mind keeps drifting with the sound of the waves, the feel of the soft sand and warm sun, and the distant laughter of children.

That's what my mind is doing today--drifting. I keep gazing out the window at the snow covered mountains, while my mind thinks about friends, family, and funny childhood escapades. I suppose receiving cards and letters from these many loved ones during the Christmas season has conjured nostalgia in double doses.

BUT, I have five loads of laundry, an office to organize, and a chapter to finish by the end of the day! So, no more drifting! (Sometimes I have to get tough with myself). Yep! Sometimes I have to stop gazing out the window, brush the sand off my pants, and get to work.