Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ringing in the year!

Ring in the New Year!
Here is to another year behind us and one of promises ahead!  I’m going to ring in the New Year at home, grateful for all the things with which I have been blessed. I plan to make some changes in the coming year.  They will be subtle, I am sure! I plan to continue to strive to take care of my health, so long as that effort is enjoyable.  After all, I do believe in moderation! I want to better tend to family relationships – just because. I am still defining my spiritual goals, but I am pretty sure they will have something to do with diligence and scripture study. I hope to publish more and sell more, mostly because I want to share what I write and because the best part about being an author is the positive feedback from readers!
Today, I celebrate New Year’s Eve because it marks a special anniversary for me.  I met my husband on New Year’s Eve.  Driven to traverse the Southern Idaho winter wilderness on this day 29 years ago, I met him at a social event – one I swore was never the place I went to meet someone special, rather to commune with friends I already knew.  One of those friends happened to introduce us that evening and it has been an adventure ever since!
Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 30, 2013

I did it! Just waiting on the review.

There is always so much to do!  I am grateful for the opportunities I have to pursue worthy goals.  Sometimes the prioritizing is what is difficult.  I have long been self-employed.  This has been a great blessing in my life as it has allowed me the flexibility to stay home and parent, participate in my children’s school activities and life pursuits, and go to lunch whenever my husband invites me.  The things that have been the most appealing about self-employment are the very things that can be the most frustrating.  Flexibility, or in my case, the ability to rearrange my schedule and put off those things that are good or necessary for those things that are better or more satisfying, has often allowed me to overschedule and delay some necessary things – like exercise and toilet cleaning!

Here is the good news!  Today I finished editing the second edition of Gold Pans and Iron Skillets and submitted it for self-publication.  Whew!  This book has proven a learning experience once again.  “Why a second edition?” One might ask. The reasons are plenty.

§  I am out of printed copies of the first edition.

§  I want to try my hand at self-publishing and a book I am familiar with is a good start.

§  I hope to sell more copies of Gold Pans as I build momentum for Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks.

§  I didn’t want to mess up Milk Cans on my first attempt at self-publishing.

§  And finally, the new cover design will be a better companion to the Milk Cans cover.

The best part?  It isn’t 2014 – yet!

I feel almost as good as if I were here!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Writing makes me crazy

Writing is for introverts.  Publishing is for perfectionists.  Marketing is for extroverts.  Either I really do need to have multiple personalities, or this process is going to expand my talents to a degree that not even I can stand myself.

Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but I have determined that the business of writing/publishing/selling is not for wimps.  Writers create in private and then expose their “babies” to the public with an invitation to validate, tear down, or simply ignore their beautiful gift.  Crazy?  Maybe.  How are we going to get rid of all those voices bouncing around inside our heads if we don’t write them down and share them?

The trouble with writing the voices down is that it truly makes room for more voices.  The more I write – the more I think of to write.  When I don’t write, I have fewer voices, but they are nagging and accusatory. 
Something Soothing

I wonder if writing makes me crazy, or if I write because I am crazy?  No … I think I write because I have so many brilliant ideas it would be a crime not to share them.  That’s it!  Writing makes me brilliant.  It’s the publishing and marketing that makes me crazy!
What talents do you have that you feel increase as you exercise them?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Anybody need a pen?

I have previously confessed that I am a hoarder.  I admit it.  I’m not proud of it.  I am working to recover from it!  I would not consider my hoarding habit unhealthy like those who have rooms full of garbage they refuse to throw away.  Nor am I a compulsive shopper (well, maybe) in that I don’t shop every sale and purchase every two dollar T-shirt I run across with the intent to save them for a rainy day.  I just have a difficult time discarding things that may still have some use in them.  Here is a list of examples:

·         Towels and washcloths

·         Squeeze jars of ketchup, mustard, honey, lotion, dishwashing liquid, etc.

·         Running shoes

·         Writing utensils like those in the photo below.
The disturbing thing about the pens and pencils is, I don’t know where they come from and I seldom use any of them.  I like a good Sharpie once in a while, red pens come in handy for proofreading, and I have very specific preferences for the type of pen I use for handwriting checks, notes, and blog post ideas! Don’t be mistaken and think that the collection in the photo is really not that big. Those are only the pens I have in my kitchen – the ones I have placed in containers.  I have pens in drawers, nightstands, and purses.  I have pens in my lab, office and bathroom.  Pens in the car and pens in coat pockets. Occasionally I find pens in the washer and pens in the dryer.  That’s when I get really mad!
I am not sure from whence they come.  I know that I did not purchase all of them.  Perhaps I am a pen magnet.  Some arrive by way of my husband’s shirt pocket and I am grateful for those that land on the counter rather than in the laundry! Some must hitch a ride home from hotel rooms, doctor’s offices, and seminars.  Many jump into the free tote bags I pick up at race registrations.  Far be it from me to pass up a good pen, or a poor one, or even to discard one that might still contain a good drop of ink!
I’m going to do something rash today.  I am going to throw away some pens.  I will not gather them into like bundles and secure them with rubber bands as I have done in the past.  I promise to toss some without checking to see if they still write.  I am going to free myself from the pen clutter so I don’t have to think about them and store them and clean around them.  At least, that’s what I am going to do with my kitchen pen collection. I would hate to do anything too drastic!  I may need some of those other pens someday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What my birthday taught me

They don't call me Granny for nothing. I've decided it's good to be older and here is why.
  • The older you get the more people you know.
  • The more people you know the more friends you have.
  • The more friends you have the more presents you get!
  • The more presents you get the more you smile.
  • The more you smile the friendlier you feel.
  • The friendlier you feel the more friends you make.
  • The more friends you make the more ... presents you get!
Yes, I'm feeling a little spoiled today and that's just fine with me!

Seriously, though, the best part is knowing people are thinking of you.  It really makes a girl stop and count her blessings!
I feel like I could wear a tutu, too!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So many options ...

Where to begin?
I’m in a bit of a pickle.  I have several writing projects in various states of completion and some days I don’t know where to begin.  Should I put finishing touches on Edition II of Gold Pans and Iron Skillets?  It isn’t available for release until December 1. Should I work on the book cover to Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks (a companion to Gold Pans and Iron Skillets) or do more editing of this work?  Should I polish my novel or visit with a man about a cover design?  Then there is the one about pain.  That one is still in the first draft process and I am still a little scattered as to the layout.  Here is a hint about the content. Oh … and I have two blogs to nurture!

I can let all of these writing projects overwhelm me or I can look at is as a smorgasbord. I have so many options in front of me that surely there is something that will satisfy.  Unfortunately, I often go for the simple carbs and head right for the blog post.  It’s quick. It’s fun.  The rewards are immediate because I can check post views in real time to see who is reading my stuff.  Those other projects?  I should spend some time on them.  They promise to offer more lasting satisfaction.  But then there are promises and there are sure things.  I’m a chicken – I usually opt for the sure thing! 
Any suggestions? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Steady, steady ...

The Idaho Falls on the Snake River
I had the opportunity to visit the Land of My Youth recently.  It was a fast and furious trip on a school bus.  The goal was to arrive in Idaho Falls, preview the state cross country race course, carbo load a bunch of teenagers, cheer them on as they ran 3.1 miles against the best runners in the state, then return home. 

LDS Temple on the far bank
Whenever I visit Eastern Idaho, I am reminded of my roots. I often want to stop the clock, use a Pause Button, if you will and simply reminisce. Life does not often afford that luxury, so I have learned to squeeze in what I can and daydream of more. On this occasion I managed a brief visit to the Snake River where it tumbles over the falls that the city is named after.  I listened to the roar of the water and gazed across at the LDS Temple on the far bank.  It is an icon that has been there as long as I can remember.  I felt a chill in the air as the wind hinted at a brewing storm. The river, the temple, and the wind all reminded me that even as things are ever changing, many things in life are steady and sure.  When I am buffeted by the winds of change, I try to hold fast to those things that are constant and true.  It seems to work for me.

What works for you?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Call me “Scaredy Cat!”

I have this little problem with technology.  I am a bit afraid of it!  I don’t have a fear that I might push the wrong button and crash my computer.  I am afraid of undoing something I have already done. (I hate wasted effort and wasted money, although I am very good at wasting time.) I am deathly afraid of updates! My wireless printer is so very convenient, but it keeps giving me an “Updates Available” message and I keep ignoring it!  You see, I am also a creature of habit and I am reluctant to create change in my workspace.  Comfort – it might be my undoing.  Imagine my dismay when my oldest son who was visiting for the weekend walked by my printer, noticed the message, and touched the “OK” button!  I gave him a threatening look.  He just shook his head and walked off.  I have yet to discover if he broke anything.

When I had my first cell phone I was notorious for letting the battery get too low.  My husband would chastise me for not carrying my phone.  “Oh, I had it, but the battery was dead,” was my typical response. I enjoyed my first camera phone and clung to it for years. My last camera phone recently gave up the ghost.  When the screen died and I could no longer tell if it was OFF or ON or whether I was sending or receiving a text, I knew it was time for a new phone.  Did I mention I’m not good with change? The same oldest son convinced me to get an iPhone. I didn’t want to pay for the data package (wasted money?) nor was I crazy about learning to use something different.  I was also feeling a little guilty about the indulgence.

For the first few days I took some really great pictures, sent text messages easily, and added my contacts. (By the way – you may want to message me your phone number as I lost them all when the flip phone died.) I continued to feel guilty about the data package. I then determined to use the phone as it was made to be used.  It changed my life! It is a much better communicator than my old phone friend.  For instance, I had a meeting the other for which I was going to be a few minutes late.  Unfortunately, I did not have the individual’s phone number in my contacts, but she is a friend on Facebook.  I couldn’t send a text message, but I was able to send a Facebook message!  Problem solved.  Everything from Map my Run to the organization tools it offers is making things better for me.  I have scripture references at my fingertips and a stop watch I can actually see. My grocery list is now on my phone. Not to mention being able to Face Time with my grandkids!

Silly me.  What took me so long? I’m loving my new phone!

What good things have you embraced that you were previously afraid to face?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Night Lights!

Ahh, football season!  I am not ignoring the fact that it is also cross country season (you can read about that on my other blog) but there is something special about being a fan and believing that you can actually influence the outcome of a game by the intensity with which you yell at the television!  We have a standing date with some football buddies.  If Boise State is playing, we will show up with snacks in hand. We will all yell for the Broncos, believing that we can help them to a win.  It must be true, because usually they do win.
Tonight is different.  The Broncos are off this week, but BYU and Utah State are going to battle it out.  Tonight could strain our friendship!  We are going to show up in our Aggie gear and yell for USU, while our friends will be cheering on BYU.  Okay, it won't really strain the relationship because we are all primarily Bronco fans and BSU will play both Utah State and BYU later in the season.  We will be united in our efforts to help the Broncos defeat both of those teams.
Tonight should be fun.  I am anxious to see how it plays out.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Idaho Sunsets

I know a blog is for writing, but I wanted to share my beautiful Idaho skies and too many words will only serve as a detraction. Enjoy!

These are only a few of the colorful sunsets we are blessed with in Southwest Idaho.  I hope you enjoyed the view!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Early morning emergency!

It is not unusual around my house to receive phone calls and front door visits at odd hours.  My husband serves as local clergy and sometimes he is needed when most folks are sleeping.  When these occasions arise, some very specific questions pop into my head.  “Who died? Where is the fire? Do I need to tag along?  Does he need a white shirt?”

This morning, long before sunup, our doorbell rang.  That is unusual because it’s a temperamental bell and only works if it is pushed just right.  My husband, an early riser, was already in the shower and I was enjoying the last minutes of my morning – sound asleep!  When the bell rang, the questions began.  Thankfully, the list was interrupted with the thought, “You are in your underwear.  Find something else to throw on before you answer the door!”  With that, I scrambled through the dark house to don a robe and get to the front door before the individual in dire need gave up and departed.  As I readied myself for any number of emergencies that were about to present themselves, I opened the door to see a young man of about 22 years of age standing on my front step.  In his hand he held a newspaper.

“I deliver your paper,” he began.   “And … I don’t know if you know it or not, but … your house was toilet papered!”
It begins.

What?  Nobody died? I thought for a moment I was experiencing one of my early morning dreams that were often disjointed and completely senseless. I think I may have shaken my head to clear the cobwebs. He waited, dutifully, for my response.

“Um … yes, thank you.  It’s Homecoming week.  It will probably be like this all week. We’ll just leave it, but … THANKS!”  In earlier years I would have responded with much more sarcasm!  Lucky for him I have mellowed some.

I returned to my bedchamber, heart racing, still confused as to why my sleep was interrupted.  In nearly twenty years of receiving the traditional Homecoming Week honor of toilet paper on my lawn and in my trees, there has never been a Good Samaritan that felt the need to wake me from my slumber and inform me of the damages to my property.  I am hoping it will take at least twenty more before another comes my way!

My newspaper is still waiting on the step along with some of the evidence!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Look a little closer

It has been a very dry summer.  In fact, we’ve had a couple dry summers in a row.  Drought conditions are especially worrisome in agricultural communities like ours.  Add to that boating as one of our favorite pastimes and there is little to be joyful about during a heat wave.

One of our favorite bodies of water is Owyhee Reservoir.  It is extremely low this year. So low, in fact, that the boat ramp is at least 200 yards long!  I am ever amazed at the skill level my hubby displays while launching our boat. I can’t back a trailer out of my driveway! I am grateful for his talent.  Otherwise, there would be no skiing this late in the season.

We discovered something on our most recent trip to the lake. Although we have murmured about the heat and lack of precipitation, those are the very things that allowed us to discover this little guy! 

Can you see him?
We have dubbed him “The Owyhee Bear.”  He is usually far below the water line. (I apologize for the poor photography.  My camera didn't recognize the bear face!  What's up with that?) There are many uniquely beautiful rock formations in the Owyhee Desert and many have been named and renamed.  We don’t know about our little buddy. Maybe someone has given him another moniker, but the chances are low, just like the water line!

The Owyhee Bear is a reminder to me that even during our most difficult trials we can find joy.  If we hadn’t been suffering a drought, we never would have found him.  Sometimes it takes grave trials before we find Him.  He is always there, waiting for us to seek Him. (Luke 11:9)


Mowing, mopping, making muffins.

Music mellows mundane missions.

Must my Monday make me maudlin?

Methinks my muse might miss me madly!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

5 Reasons why I paint my toes ...

It is easier to walk around in flip flops while the polish dries than to keep my hands still.

Toenails grow slower than fingernails so the paint job lasts longer.

It is easy to cover toes with shoes if the color doesn’t match your outfit.


Running – because nobody knows if your nails are black when they have a coat of paint on them.

Oh, look!  The polish matches the blood from a long run!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Juicing: I think it isn't about health!

I love veggies, too!
I don’t mean to offend my Vegan or health conscious friends, but I have come to the conclusion that people who juice are simply lazy.  Now before you get all puffed up about the benefits of juicing, hear me out.

Juicing is for people who want to avoid the labor required to prepare a meal.  They prefer to grab handfuls of fruits and vegetables, throw them in a Vitamix, Ninja, Whatever, and voila’ dinner is served!

Juicing is for people who are too lazy to chew their food.  It’s much easier to drink your veggies than to stab them with a fork, lift them into your mouth, and masticate them until they are ready to swallow.

Laziest of all is the avoidance of digestion.  This action happens with such little effort we hardly notice. However, juicing allows one to pour her food in one end and let it slide right on through! Can you think of anything lazier than that?

Juicers of the world, I rest my case!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A dozen years

Time to clean off my desk! 
I am retiring.  No, not from my lab job (I don’t work very hard anyway) nor from my writing pursuits, rather from my responsibilities as School Board Trustee.  Twelve years just seems like the right time to transition. It wasn’t a goal that I set in the beginning of my service.  I didn’t say, “Sure, I think I will do that for a dozen years.” It just happened.  I have been pondering that number twelve.  What kinds of things do we do by the dozen?

We buy eggs by the dozen.

Years are divided by a dozen months and days by two dozen hours.

We attend public school for a dozen years, give or take a couple.

A dozen long stemmed roses is a significant gesture – and pricey!


Christ had twelve apostles.

Gandalf had twelve dwarves and a hobbit that represented innocence. (Think about it.)

During my years of service I participated in the following twelves to name a few:

Approved twelve School-year calendars.

Rehired teaching, coaching, food service, custodians, bus drivers, para-professionals, Superintendent and various district staff twelve times.
Approved twelve school district budgets.

Received twelve IHSAA passes.

Participated in Parma High School graduation ceremonies and presented diplomas twelve times.

Cleaned up Homecoming TP from my yard twelve times.

Attended twelve Regular school board meetings each year.  (Okay, I missed a couple, but I made up for those with Special school board meetings.)

And yet, twelve years has no true significance in my decision to step down.  It is just time.  I recall asking a fellow former trustee when he knew it was time to leave.  He said, “You just know.  The district was in good hands and I felt it was my time to go.”  I echo his sentiment.  It is just time.

I bid my school board responsibilities, “Adieu.”  I may still give my opinion and I can tell you who to contact with a concern, but as I reassured a favorite coach when he kindly said, “What are we going to do without you?” It’s all right.  I can just be more partial now!

It’s been fun – time to be done!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies. Really?

I had the opportunity to help out a friend the other day by making some cookies for an event she was hosting.  I listed several options and then threw in “Pumpkin Cookies” just to be cheeky.   She actually picked the pumpkin cookies!   Now, as cookies go, they are relatively healthy and I like the flavor, but my memory of pumpkin cookies as a child are a cakelike cookie with a burned bottom.  I figured I could keep from burning them, but I think that if a person wants to eat cake, she will eat cake.  A cookie should be crunchy or chewy or both!

I decided to tweak this recipe.  I think I like it!  These are the changes I made.

·         Cut the flour back to about 6 ½ Cups.

·         Bake at 350◦ for 10 minutes. 

·         Bake a “test cookie” to be sure you have the consistency you like.

The prejudices we bring from childhood are unique to each of us.  My husband is not a fan of fried eggs.  He ate too many as a child.   My oldest son will not touch a shrimp because he came down with the stomach flu once after eating them.  I don’t eat oysters.  Here is why. 

Might it be wise to revisit some of those things we avoid?  Our likes and dislikes have been formed by our experiences.  Could it be that tweaking those experiences, something as simple as cutting back on the flour, might change our entire perspective?  I wonder …

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great Ideas Neglected

I hate it when I have a great idea for an essay or a blog post, but I can’t sit down and work on it at the moment.  Too often, the great idea escapes me when the opportunity to document it finally arrives.  Oh, I know the best answer is to jot the idea down quickly and refer to it later, but it usually seems so awesome that I am certain I will remember it. Alas, I do not! 

For instance, I had a Part II to yesterday’s post.  I think it had something to do with “How much is not enough,” but I can’t remember for sure!

Here is what really bothers me.  If I regularly write in my mind and delay putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard, can I really call myself a writer?   I know I am a runner because I do it often enough (and other people see me pounding the pavement) but what defines “writer?”  I have an author’s Facebook page.  Is that what it takes to be legit?  I published a book in 2008.
That was over four years ago.  Two blogs and a couple of online gigs can be added to my portfolio, as well as, a column for Blue Circle Sports.  For some reason, we writers think that dollars validate our talents.  Maybe they do and maybe they don’t.  This much I know – those of us who write HAVE to write and those who don’t write have trouble understanding why we feel compelled to write.  Maybe it’s an addiction.  Better yet, maybe it’s therapy.  You see, this 300 word post just helped me clarify why I write and where I need to focus my efforts.  I took the time to document it.  Maybe tomorrow I will remember why I write!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If you win, I lose. Really?

There is an idea being widespread that, in my opinion, is both false and disturbing.  Many in today’s world, especially in the USA, are under the impression that if one person is wealthy it will automatically make another person poor.  That is like saying, “If she loses weight, it will make me fat,” or, “If your house is clean, then my house must be dirty.”  It simply does not make sense.

In my world, those who have more money not only spend more money, thus contributing to economic health, they also give more to charity, thus helping those in need. 

Surely there are those enslaved in poverty from which they have very little hope of release.  They often had no hand in creating their circumstances. However, to blame their poverty on the wealthy is an incorrect assumption.  This is not intended to be a political post, rather an observation of a thinking trend that is handicapping all of us.  If we adopt this attitude, we deny our own accountability. Think about it.

“I am unhealthy because there are too many fitness fanatics around. It has nothing to do with my choices to hang out on the sofa and eat junk food.”

“I didn’t finish high school because there were too many smart kids in my class.  It had nothing to do with my failure to show up for class.”

 “If he has four cars, then there will not be enough cars for me to have one, because he bought all the cars.”

Have you got the picture yet?  Here is one more just to help you see …

“If he is happy, then I have to be sad.”

It just does not make any sense.  However, it is a very effective tool for those that would have us remain in a state of unhappiness and discontent.  Denying one’s accountability only fosters an attitude of disappointment and inevitable failure, because there will always be those who succeed and according to popular thought, if somebody succeeds others must fail.  Don't get caught in this thinking trap.

That is my opinion.  What is yours?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hoarder or Procrastinator?

Just like it was yesterday ...
Okay, I’ve admitted that I am a bit of a hoarder.  See this post. I am beginning to wonder if I am truly a hoarder or if I just can’t measure the passing of time.  Hmm?
For instance, my husband and I were visiting a friend recently who confessed that she used to paint her walls every two years.
“Wow!  I probably haven’t painted mine in like … six!”
Hubby cleared his throat and informed me that it had been much longer than that!  I had no idea!
The same thing happened when I went in for what should have been an annual cancer screening.  (It’s the one us girls would prefer to have a car ran over our rib cage than endure.) 
“Um, it’s been a couple years …” I confessed.
“More like eight,” the not-so-cheerful receptionist muttered.  Who knew?
Today I replaced the well-used quilt covering my bed with a crisp new coverlet. It’s like I have a new room!  Now I probably won’t have to paint the walls for some time yet.  After all, it’s only been … oh … ten, maybe twelve years …

Monday, March 25, 2013

Offer up an Orchid


Offer up an Orchid

Often on occasion of adoring observation
Ordinary beaus offer up only old confections.
Bonbons ought to open both orb and oral organs
For ogling or consuming is their only operation.
Oblige me oft, Dear Suitor, ope’ my soul with origination
Offer up no ordinary or conventional donation.
Endow me not the obvious, but obtain one oddity.
For an orchid is the symbol of my lover’s loyalty.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sandwich Wisdom

It's a sandwich!

As I was assembling a homemade Reuben sandwich today, it occurred to me that the sandwich is greater than the sum of its parts.

Consider:  Corned beef or pastrami is not that good.  I got a little sentimental this year and fixed corned beef and coleslaw for St. Patty’s Day.  (I couldn’t bring myself to ingest boiled cabbage!) My husband turned up his nose when I told him what we were eating.  It was okay, but I probably won’t do it again next year.

Rye bread is only good for sandwiches and Swiss cheese is best when melted.  Sliced off the brick and eaten cold it tends to bite ones tongue.

Sauerkraut.  (I actually really like the stuff.)

I would never put Thousand Island dressing on a salad.  Thousand Island dressing implies, “I didn’t have anything better so I just dumped this stuff together.  Here ya go!” (I know this from my experience working at the Silver Grill CafĂ© in Lava Hot Springs many moons ago.  Mayo, catsup, mustard, and pickle relish. Stir.)

None of the ingredients that combine to make a Reuben are great on their own, but together they make a deli delite!
I wonder … did the Lord give us each other that we might be better together than standing alone?  Families, friends, teammates, even co-workers are often so much more powerful together than apart. 

Could WE be greater than the sum of our parts?